Friday, July 27, 2012

Read This: My Life Next Door

My Life Next Door
by Huntley Fitzpatrick

The Short Story
Samantha has always been intrigued by the Garretts, the bursting at the seams family next door. Her mother, on the other hand, feels like "those" kind of people are beneath them. One day Jase Garrett stops by, and everything changes for Sam. It's a cute romance that really is excellent for much of the book. But the last third or so is not. But read it anyway because the first part is so good.

Come for the....
family. Reading about the Garretts and their 8 kids made me happy. The author does a great job of capturing the contented chaos that comes with a lot of people. There are maybe more names than separate personalities, but I thought that added to the sense that you could get lost and find a place in the mass of people. I loved how easily Samantha fit in and made herself a Garrett. I loved the little brother and how he said embarrassing truths that only little kids can get away with. I loved that the Garretts started out being totally foreign to Sam and she just had to go with a lot of things. (like the mom regularly nursing the youngest kid in front of everyone)

Of course, the relationship between Samantha and Jase is the bulk of the book. They're fairly mature and have a lot of cute and funny moments. And some pretty mature ones. For the most part I thought the book was honest and realistic, especially in dealing with more adult topics in their relationship. Although his parents were a bit unrealistically permissive... I don't think the first response to knowing your 17 year old's girlfriend had spent the night would be to ask her to babysit. But maybe that's just me.

Don't Think About This Too Hard
  • I wanted to love everything about this book, but then the big "plot twist of drama" came along. And it basically led the book astray. My biggest problem was that it affected almost all the characters, but basically none of them got any resolution. Just the main two. Which made it feel like the twist only served to create relationship drama. I felt like everyone else was left hanging, and that didn't sit well with me. The beginning of the book was too good for that.
  • To go with that, there were too many little subplots and characters that didn't serve a purpose or take the story anywhere. The best friend and her plot line did nothing. The best friend's brother, Tim, was so much drama in the beginning, for no apparent reason. All of that should have been cut. Sam's sister seemed to have gotten lost from whatever book she actually belonged in. I kept wanting to tell the author to get back on track.

The Big Three:
Language: Tim swears like a sailor, with many f-words
Sex and Stuff: um, yes. Some detailed kissy (and more than) scenes
Violence: not really an issue

Friday, July 20, 2012

It's Follow Friday!

Feature & Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. This week's question is:

Q: Christmas in July! Someone gives you a gift card for two books (whatever that costs). What two books will you buy?

I'm kind of a freak of blogger nature, but I never buy books.
The last book I bought was Mockingjay, on the day it was released.

If I were going to pick up a couple books, I'd have to go with ones I already love and want to lend out to everyone I know. So, I'd pick:
Sweethearts by Sara Zarr, because it's the best book you've never heard of. (unless you read my blog regularly & know that I talk about it all. the. time.) Her most recent book, How to Save a Life, is better written, but Sweethearts is my favorite.

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, because that's just a great book to own. I don't know of many people who have finished the book and didn't like it.

How about you? Do you like to buy books you haven't read, or stick to things you know you already like?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Kathy Confuses

I haven't posted one of these in a while, so... Time for another round of Kathy Confuses, where I think things that are actually very different are the same.

We've been super sick in my house for the last three weeks (both my boys got to spend time in the hospital!) so we've watched a lot of movies. Like Journey 2 and Hop.

While we were watching Journey 2, my husband tried to convince me that:
 The Rock
and Vin Diesel

are not the same person. (They look more alike in my head.)

This picture proved his point, so I guess they really are two separate people. I still cannot tell them apart.

But! While we watched Hop, Rusty confided that he can't tell apart this guy:
The Hoff

 from this guy:
Donny Osmond

Take that, Rusty!
Who knew Donny was so short?

Last one, and then you'll have to find other ways to feel smarter than people on the internet!
In bookish things, I think we've all heard about this book:

I've recently seen a few bloggers posting reviews, for what I thought was that book. And I didn't read them. And I was kind of surprised they were reviewing it.
Until I realized the book they were actually reviewing was:

I have no idea what Between Shades of Gray is about, but I suspect it's got nothing to do with Fifty Shades of Grey. Sorry if you've reviewed and I've skipped your review!
And, you know, given you the side eyes for reading *that* kind of book.

Please tell me I'm not the only one. What have you confused lately?

Friday, July 6, 2012

June Mini-Reviews

I had a better reading month in June! 2 new books and 5 old books rereads.

Destined (Wings #4) by Aprilynne Pike
I thought this was a great ending to a total "guilty pleasure" series. It wraps up all the plot points from the first three and includes a couple of cool new things. The story ended exactly how I expected it to, but it got there in a way I wouldn't have guessed. Even though most of the story takes place in Avalon (and is a little heavy on the fighting), I really liked that David and Chelsea played big roles. The epilogue was more bitter than sweet for me, but I thought it was gutsy for the author to go that route.
Read This 4/5

The Last Echo (Body Finder #3) by Kimberly Derting
The Body Finder books are usually such guilty pleasures for me, too. A little creepy, a little swoony, a little silly. This one definitely has the creepy (best bad guy of the series), but I was kind of disappointed. The focus is on Violet and her paranormally talented crime solving group, instead of on Violet's regular life. I think if I had known to expect that it would be about new characters (and a whole lot of Rafe) I would have liked it more. Some of her new friends have some cool abilities, so that was interesting. But after three books, you have to suspend your disbelief that Violet's parents would let her get into such dangerous situations.
Mixed 3/5

On to the rereads....

The Ruby Oliver series by E. Lockhart
I've never properly reviewed these on the blog. I love these books because they're funny and angsty and over the top, but end more realistically than a lot of YA. Also, Ruby gets panic attacks and actually goes to a therapist. (So many more YA characters should be in therapy!) I love that Ruby is boy crazy and girl power and a lot of conflicting things all at once. But each book she comes more into her own and learns to solve her own problems. Also, her romantic relationships end up realistic, not perfect.
Read These 5/5

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
(because Anna and the French Kiss was all checked out of the library)
Cricket was just as adorkable, and Lola was a little less frustrating the second time around. (It's hard for me to be sympathetic to Lola when she was so obviously causing her own problems) And the dads are still great.
Read This 4/5

For July I hope to post a little more frequently, play along with Jenni's Pride and Prejudice read along and get ready for Utah Author Month in August. And I'll be reading Howl's Moving Castle for book club. I know nothing about that book, so I hope it's good!